Warning aired against ‘Alsa Masa’ revival

November 19, 2018

TWO senators expressed alarm on the reported plan of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to set up an “Alsa Masa-like” network that is potentially a serious peace and order problem.

Both Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan cautioned the PNP on their plan to expand the Community Mobilization Project (CMP) into an Alsa Masa-like network to help combat crimes in the country.

“It could be a very dangerous move especially if it spins out of control,” Lacson said in a text message.

Alsa Masa was the civilian force group formed in Davao City in the 1980s to beef up community support in the fight against crime, especially illegal drugs.

“Going by what transpired in the past – using that same tactic against the insurgents in Davao City and elsewhere in northern Mindanao where the Kuratong Baleleng of Octavio Parojinog was utilized by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) — borders even on vigilantism,” Lacson said.

Lacson also pointed out that members of Kuratong Baleleng, without a well-planned and structured exit program, chose to commit crimes as their next career when the anti-crime project was abolished.

The former PNP chief advised the current police leadership to seriously consider the lessons of the past.

For his part, Pangilinan urged the PNP to “seriously reconsider” its plan of reviving Alsa Masa as it might be a “recipe for rampant atrocities and abuse.”

“Alsa Masa in the 1980s became notorious for rampant violations of human rights, widespread atrocities and abuse all in the name of anti-communism and law and order,” he said in a separate text message.

He also expressed fear that the plan will give corrupt and abusive policemen more confidence to commit crimes against unarmed citizens.